Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut November 21, 2012 - 3:15 pm

Joyce Kringuk gets life in prison for murder of husband

Kringuk, 32, may seek parole after 10 years

DAVID MURPHY

A Repulse Bay woman who shot and killed her husband, a wildlife officer, at point blank range in 2008 will serve a mandatory life sentence, but may seek parole after serving 10 years in a federal jail.

“Long after your memory of these court proceedings fades, your conscience will punish you. It will be there when you sleep. It will be there when you wake. It will always be there to remind you what you did,” Nunavut Justice Robert Kilpatrick said in a judgment issued Nov. 21.

Joyce Kringuk admitted to killing Joani Kringayark on the evening of the incident on Aug. 8, 2008 at his cabin near Repulse Bay. Kringuk has remained in prison since her arrest that night.

On the night, the two decided to drink together, but argued after both drinking half of a 40 ounce-bottle of Royal Reserve Whisky.

After their arguments escalated, Kringayark shoved Kringuk. Kringuk then retrieved Kringayark’s high-powered, loaded rifle, which was not properly stored or locked.

And after attempting to shoot herself, she pointed the weapon above Kringayark’s head. With her eyes closed, she lowered the weapon and pulled the trigger.

“At point blank range, the effect of the gun shot is catastrophic. The cabin is transformed into a scene of carnage. Blood, bits of bone and brain matter now cover the floor, the walls, and Joyce Kringuk,” Kilpatrick said in his sentencing judgment.

Kilpatrick also cited the fact that her children were present during the murder.

He called on Nunavut’s health and social services to monitor the two children, as they “will likely need to access specialized programs and services to address the trauma that they have experienced.”

“They will carry the memory of this nightmare for the rest of their lives. They too now live out a life sentence,” Kilpatrick said.

The 10-year parole eligibility is the minimum period for parole for second-degree murder.

The suggestion for the 10-year eligibility came from a joint submission from Crown and defense teams.

“Both Crown and defense suggest that the psychiatric history and tragic life circumstances of Ms. Kringuk warrant the application of the principle of restraint,” Kilpatrick said.

“This is a principle that is particularly important when addressing the special circumstances of disadvantaged and marginalized aboriginal citizens who are swept up into the criminal justice system,” he said.

Kringuk had a tumultuous life, which Kilpatrick took into consideration with his sentencing.

Kilpatrick mentioned how three of Kringuk’s siblings have already died by suicide, and another had died from hepatitis. One of her brothers is also serving time for murder.

Kringuk was hospitalized at least three times for bipolar disorder, depression and suicidal ideation, and suffered many sexual assaults as a child and adult, and developed a lifelong addiction to alcohol.

Kilpatrick said Kringuk has been involved in Alcoholic Anonymous and “other forms of remedial counselling” while at a women’s correctional facility.

But he said it’s a “sad reality” that women can find better treatment services in jail than they can find within their own communities in Nunavut.

“Depression and anxiety, anger and fear, mistrust, confusion, self-blame, and despair are the sad and enduring legacies of Joyce Kringuk’s unfortunate life experiences,” Kilpatrick said.

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